Are you concerned about cognitive decline? Here’s a tip: Eating the right foods can help fight memory loss, prevent cognitive decline and lower your “brain age”. There is a diet that’s specifically designed for this condition.
It is also known as the “Mediterranean DASH Diet Intervention For Neurodegenerative Delay”, or MIND diet. It’s a combination of the Mediterranean diet (DASH) and DASH (Dietary approaches to stop hypertension), which has been shown to decrease Alzheimer’s disease risk in those who strictly follow them.
Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL published a study showing that the MIND diet reduced Alzheimer’s risk by around one-third (35%) in participants who followed it moderately and more than half (53% in those who followed it strictly).
Participants who ate brain-healthy foods scored higher. The study concluded that the people with the highest scores had experienced a 7.5 year slowdown in their cognitive decline compared to those who had the lowest scores. So do you want to see your brain grow younger? The MIND diet lists the top 10 brain-healthy foods.
Vegetables with green leaves
Green leafy vegetables are the best foods that fight memory loss. Also they are the best for cognitive decline protection out of all the brain-healthy foods. You can choose from spinach, collard greens and kale. These vegetables are rich in nutrients, including folate, vitamin E and flavonoids. They have been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Every day, eat one serving of greens and one of mixed salads.
A green leafy vegetable is not enough. You should also eat at least one other vegetable per day. MIND diet researchers say there are many vegetable and vegetable dishes you can choose from. These include green and red peppers as well as squash, cooked and raw carrots, potatoes, peas and tomatoes, string beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, string beans and string beans.
Nuts Are One of Best Foods That Fight Memory Loss
Nuts may have beneficial effects on brain health, including anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, and anti-carcinogenic properties. The highest concentration of polyphenols in walnuts is among all nut types. One randomized trial showed that walnut consumption may slow and fight memory loss in elderly people at high risk. MIND recommends that nuts be eaten as snacks on all days of the week.
While fruits don’t generally have a protective effect in dementia or cognitive decline studies, berries have shown improvements in memory and learning in animal models as well as a 2.5 year delay in cognitive decline in the Nurses” Health Study. The authors of this study concluded that a higher intake of flavonoids, especially from berries, may reduce the rate of cognitive decline in older people. They cited blueberries and strawberries as examples. For the best brain benefits, eat berries at least two times per week.
Beans, along with other legumes like soybeans and lentils, are another staple food that is good for your brain. A high intake of legumes (three to five servings per week) has been associated with higher cognitive performance. According to the MIND diet, beans should be consumed every other day.
Whole grains provide energy in the form of blood glucose to the brain. They are also rich in vitamin E, which has been shown to have neuroprotective properties. Three servings of whole grain each day is recommended.
According to the Alzheimer’s & Dementia researchers, fish are a rich source long-chain n-3 fatty acid, which have been proven to decrease Ab [amyloid beta] formation and oxidative damages, increase synaptic protein and dendritic spinal density, and also to lower Ab [amyloid-beta] production. Studies showed that eating one meal of fish per week can slow down cognitive decline. There is no additional benefit to eating more fish per day. This is the recommended amount of fish that you should eat per week. However, this should not be a batter-dipped fish stick or fried fish. It should be fresh seafood.
“Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!” Poultry is rich in lean protein. As research shows, high-protein diets may help prevent Ab from developing in older adults’ brains before memory loss occurs. Researchers recommend eating turkey or chicken at least twice per week as a main meal or sandwich. (Sorry kids, chicken nuggets and fried chicken don’t count.
Olive oil consumption has been linked independently to improved cognitive function in older adults on a Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil (or nuts has a higher cognitive score than a low-fat one. Olive oil must be the primary oil source in the kitchen to qualify for the MIND diet.
According to the MIND diet, wine is one the best foods for brain health. It should not be surprising that red wine, which is a common component of the Mediterranean diet, has been linked to a lower risk of dementia and improved brain health when taken in low amounts. Even if you drink wine in low amounts, it can help your brain eliminate waste. The MIND diet allows for one glass of wine each day. But you should bear in mind that consuming wine during pregnancy is not tolerated.
What to Avoid
It’s true that foods help fight memory loss. But not all what we can eat is good. So what should you avoid? You can also refer to the MIND diet for some suggestions. These are the five worst foods for your mind:
- Red meat
- Butter and stick margarine
- Pastries and sweets
- Fast food or fried
These unhealthy foods have many negative aspects, but the brain will be more concerned with the high levels of saturated fats than trans fats. The MIND authors stated that a fat composition with higher levels of saturated and trans fats, and lower levels in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can lead to Ab aggregation and blood brain barrier dysfunction.